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Features / Pre-Christmas ‘spree’ in memory of Davie

Late folk festival stalwart Davie Henderson. Photo: Sean Purser

LATE Shetland Folk Festival stalwart Davie Henderson’s pre-Christmas ‘spree’ event is being brought back this December by his son Kevin in memory of his father.

Three concerts will take place from 5-7 December. It will be headlined by legendary folk band Boys of the Lough, who Kevin Henderson plays fiddle with, making their first Shetland appearance since the early 1980s.

The sad and sudden death of Davie Henderson in January this year had a significant impact not only on the festival itself, but also on the wider social scene and community. One local band described him as the islands’ “ultimate musical ambassador”.

For a few years prior to his untimely death, he had personally organised and funded ‘Davie Henderson’s Peerie Christmas Spree’, a pre-festive season, weekend long “good craic” music event featuring a mix of local and visiting artists. The ‘spree’ took in local venues in Lerwick and rural areas.

With the support of Shetland Arts and Atlantic Edge Music Services, Kevin Henderson plans to bring the event back the event in memory of, and as a tribute to, his late father.

On Friday 5 December the ‘spree’ kicks off in Fetlar Hall in the company of award-winning, Yell-based vocal duo Lauren and Megan, plus local band Hyaltdans – featuring Maurice Henderson and others.

On Saturday 6 December the show visits the Muckle Roe Hall where guests will be Arthur Nicholson and Vair, and finally, on the afternoon of Sunday 7 December, it moves to ‘Mareel’ in Lerwick, again supported by Lauren and Megan, together with the ‘Gathering’, a large group of top class local musicians who Davie himself initially brought together for a folk festival appearance a couple of years back.

Boys of the Lough, featuring Kevin Henderson (left), will headline this year's pre-Christmas spree.

Kevin Henderson said: “I’m delighted this weekend is taking place. I thought it would be good to do it in my dad’s memory as it was a weekend he really enjoyed putting together. He did it entirely off his own back and never took a penny himself for doing it.

He just did it for the love of the music and the community in general. I’m equally delighted the Boys of the Lough are involved this year, which was dad’s initial thinking for this year’s ‘spree’, so I’m glad we’ll now be able to see it through for him.

It’s just a shame he’s not here himself to be involved and see it actually happen. The Boys are really looking forward to it and the hope is to launch the new album during the weekend as well, which would be an added bonus. I would like to say a huge thanks to Davie Gardner and Shetland Arts for their help in making it happen.” 

Gardner, who runs Lerwick-based Atlantic Edge Music Services, said: “Davie brought so much fantastic music to Shetland over the years. So when Kevin mentioned the idea of doing another Peerie Christmas Spree in memory of his dad, I thought it was a terrific idea.

“I’m delighted to be involved from an organisational perspective along with Shetland Arts who have been a terrific help and support throughout the whole planning process. Hopefully the event will be a fitting tribute to and a timely remembrance of Davie, especially given the fact he had planned to do this event himself prior to his untimely death. I’m simply glad we’ve still been able to make it happen in his name.”

  • Tickets for the Fetlar and Lerwick shows go on sale from Monday 20 October through Shetland Box Office, while those for the Muckle Roe concert can be obtained by phoning Peter Johnson on 07876 630899.